Category: Living in Shanghai

Jana, Marina & the Chocolate Factory

Jana, Marina & the Chocolate Factory

There’s a Zotter chocolate factory in Shanghai – Austrian chocolate in the middle of China – who would have thought? Technically, it’s a “chocolate theater”, because they don’t really make much chocolate there, but you can learn all about chocolate and taste it until you’re sick … which is exactly what Jana and I did at the end of September.

I got 2 tickets to go to the tasting tour for my birthday and one of the dates for it lined up with Jana’s visit. Coincident? I don’t think so πŸ™‚

The tour starts with a movie about the company, its founder and how chocolate is made from bean to bar. After that, it’s 2 hours of non stop indulgence. We tasted the beans, cocoa powder, milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, soy chocolate, chocolate in liquid form, in bars, with fruits mixed in, chocolate coating nuts and fruits, drinking chocolate … You name it, they had it. 150 varieties of it.

After the tour, we hit the store … and then I had to recover on the couch for a few hours.

Besides going to the chocolate factory, we also did some other stuff during Jana’s 4 days in Shanghai. Namely, have Vietnamese food, go for pancakes, have brunch, and another brunch, eat burgers, get sushi … To work it off, we also went for a walk with Khan. And then had pasta and pizza πŸ˜‰ In summary – a great Shanghai visit!

DIY Food Tour

DIY Food Tour

We just got back from our Golden Week vacation a few days ago and I’m very behind with the blogging. Spoiler: We went to Indonesia and it was great! Before I get into it (still got lots of pictures to sort), I still have a couple little things to share from before our trip.

Marlyn and I had been wanting to recreate the food tour I did in June, and we decided it was time in the middle of September when it finally got a bit cooler. We met after work at the metro, booklet from the tour in hand and ready to eat our way through China and take selfies πŸ™‚

Stop 1 – Cantonese

Our personal food tour was off to a rocky start because the planned first stop, the Xi’An Burger, had been closed down πŸ™ It didn’t get much better at the second stop – a Cantonese restaurant. They had sold out of the barbecued pork, this dish I was most excited to eat again at that place. Fail. We tried duck instead, which was okay, but not nearly as good as the pork. The pineapple bun and a mango tapioca dish were good; those cheered us up again.

Since we met around 20 min before the food tour starts, we kept seeing one of their groups. They usually came into the restaurants when we had already started eating. We made sure to hide our booklet and pretended we were just in the know about local restaurants. Not sure we succeeded πŸ˜‰

Stop 2 – Ningbo

The second stop – the Ningbo place – was much better! We got my favorite 2 dishes from the tour, fava bean puree and crispy bamboo chips. Marlyn was skeptical at first, but came around after giving it a try. The beans really taste much better than they look!

Stop 3 – Sichuan

Third stop: Sichuan Noodles, no rabbit head this time πŸ™‚

Stop 4 – Shanghai

And finally, some xiaolongbao to finish the night.

Just as we were about to call it a night, we saw the guide again. He ducked into a small bakery, telling the group “I’m just gonna buy something for later”. So obviously we went in right after he left and requested 2 of whatever he bought … which gave us our dessert πŸ™‚

To anyone who wants try food from across China: Come visit and eat with us – Marlyn and I are ready!

Puppy Love

Puppy Love

I have a new love in my life. We met in April and have been hanging out almost every week since. I think it’s getting serious.

Meet Khan.

He’s an Alaskan Malamute, 3 years old and the cutest and sweetest dog in the world. He belongs to friends of a friend, who adopted him in Shanghai about 2 years ago. We met Khan and his owners randomly at brunch one weekend and I couldn’t get enough of him. See pictures of our first encounter.

Basically, I begged our friend to give me his owners’ contact and stalked them on WeChat to please let me walk their puppy. Thankfully, they didn’t find that too creepy and actually let me πŸ™‚ I walk him almost every weekend now for 2+ hours and it’s so great to have a snuggly fluff ball in my life. He’s also good for my step count – 15.000 is not a problem – and gets me out of the house rain or shine … see Khan’s awesome raincoat below.

Like many men, he’s not a huge fan of selfies and usually tries to lick my face when I sneak up to get a picture, but I can’t resist because he’s just too damn cute!

Shanghai Summer 2019

Shanghai Summer 2019

I haven’t posted anything in a while but that doesn’t mean nothing has been happening over here πŸ™‚

Both Thorben and I started new jobs. We’re still at the same company and same location but in different roles. I stayed in the same department but started a new project in May. Thorben changed to a different role and division in July.

Summer is in full swing and it’s hot hot hot. We already had a week filled with 36 and 37 degree weather, see the obligatory screenshot below. Now it’s “cooled down” to 33 degrees with a balmy 27 at night, so it’s still quite sweaty. I’m loving the inventor of the air conditioner more than ever.

Typhoon Lekima got a lot of coverage here as it got pretty close to Shanghai last weekend. We had a couple of days with a lot of wind and rain but thankfully, we were not affected a lot. There was some flooding and lots of leaves and little branches in the street but otherwise Shanghai got lucky. I just used the days inside to catch up with Harry Potter, which I’ve been re-reading (for the 8th time probably) since July.

On the travel front, we went to Kuching in June and each had to go on a business trip to Germany. We’re lucky we can usually combine business with seeing friends and family, so it still feels like fun trips, even without vacation time.

Other than that, there were birthday parties, a few GGI events for me, archery for Thorben, and we helped a couple of people move. Sadly, a few friends left Shanghai this summer, so we went to some farewells as well.

Of course there is always a lot going on food-wise: Marlyn cooked some Indonesian food for usΒ  – or mostly instructed Thorben what to do ;). We had a nice dinner with yummy things of which I forgot all the names.

Also, we cooked, had people over for dinner and went out to eat a bunch. As always, I’ve neglected to take pictures of people because I’m too focused on the food πŸ™‚ So here’s a little, okay a big, food picture selection.

Birthday celebrations part 2, 3 and 4

Birthday celebrations part 2, 3 and 4

Besides a fantastic birthday weekend, there were many more fun activities I haven’t posted pictures from, so here we go!

Afternoon tea at the Peninsula

Boramy and Tim took me to afternoon tea at the Peninsula a week after my birthday. I’ve been wanting to go so it was the perfect present. Savory snacks, little desserts, scones with clotted cream and unlimited tea – what more can you want? The food was really good and we hung out for almost 4 hours.

Girls only birthday party

A weekend after that, I had 8 girls over for pastries, cake, games and mimosas … and later pizza rolls, wine and gossip πŸ˜‰ They helped me finish the rest of the eclairs and cream puffs from the baking extravaganza, so now there’s space in the freezer for another round!

Birthday celebrations in Germany

I just got back from a business trip to Germany, where I also got to spend a weekend with my family. I sent them a birthday wish list which included a family breakfast, dinner with the grandparents and a strawberry cake πŸ™‚ All my wishes were fulfilled, yay to getting special birthday treatment!

Julia and Frank’s present was food related as well. First, they had me over at their place for ice cream, we visited Dieter the Donkey at the park and finally we had dinner together. With that dinner I got to check “Must have dish no. 3” off the list: KΓ€sespΓ€tzle! (No. 1 and 2 are Butterbrezel and Maultaschen).

Up next: A tour ofΒ  the Zotter chocolate factory I got from friends and then celebrating with my sister in Singapore in September – she’s also taking me to an afternoon tea. Food gifts are the best πŸ™‚